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America and Beyond
"This fine collection of essays represents an important contribution to the rediscovery of Baldwin's stature as essayist, novelist, black prophetic political voice, and witness to the Civil Rights era. The title provides an excellent thematic focus. He understood both the necessity, and the impossibility, of being a black 'American' writer. He took these issues 'Beyond'---Paris, Istanbul, various parts of Africa---but this formative experience only returned him to the unresolved dilemmas. He was a fine novelist and a major prophetic political voice. He produced some of the most important essays of the twentieth century and addressed in depth the complexities of the black political movement. His relative invisibility almost lost us one of the most significant voices of his generation. This welcome 'revival' retrieves it. Close call." ---Stuart Hall, Professor Emeritus, Open University This interdisciplinary collection by leading writers in their fields brings together a discussion of the many facets of James Baldwin, both as a writer and as the prophetic conscience of a nation. The core of the volume addresses the shifting, complex relations between Baldwin as an American—“as American as any Texas GI” as he once wryly put it—and his life as an itinerant cosmopolitan. His ambivalent imaginings of America were always mediated by his conception of a world “beyond” America: a world he knew both from his travels and from his voracious reading. He was a man whose instincts were, at every turn, nurtured by America; but who at the same time developed a ferocious critique of American exceptionalism. In seeking to understand how, as an American, he could learn to live with difference—breaking the power of fundamentalisms of all stripes—he opened an urgent, timely debate that is still ours. His America was an idea fired by desire and grief in equal measure. As the authors assembled here argue, to read him now allows us to imagine new possibilities for the future. With contributions by Kevin Birmingham, Douglas Field, Kevin Gaines, Briallen Hopper, Quentin Miller, Vaughn Rasberry, Robert Reid-Pharr, George Shulman, Hortense Spillers, Colm Tóibín, Eleanor W. Traylor, Cheryl A. Wall, and Magdalena Zaborowska.
Witness to the Journey
James Baldwin’s Later Fiction examines the decline of Baldwin’s reputation after the middle 1960s, his tepid reception in mainstream and academic venues, and the ways in which critics have often mis-represented and undervalued his work. Scott develops readings of Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Just Above My Head that explore the interconnected themes in Baldwin’s work: the role of the family in sustaining the arts, the price of success in American society, and the struggle of black artists to change the ways that race, sex, and masculinity are represented in American culture.
Scott argues that Baldwin’s later writing crosses the cultural divide between the 1950s and 1960s in response to the civil rights and black power movements. Baldwin’s earlier works, his political activism and sexual politics, and traditions of African American autobiography and fiction all play prominent roles in Scott’s analysis.
As James Buchanan took office in 1857, the United States found itself at a crossroads. Dissolution of the Union had been averted and the Democratic Party maintained control of the federal government, but the nation watched to see if Pennsylvania's first president could make good on his promise to calm sectional tensions.
Despite Buchanan's central role in a crucial hour in U.S. history, few presidents have been more ignored by historians. In assembling the essays for this volume, Michael Birkner and John Quist have asked leading scholars to reconsider whether Buchanan’s failures stemmed from his own mistakes or from circumstances that no president could have overcome.
Buchanan's dealings with Utah shed light on his handling of the secession crisis. His approach to Dred Scott reinforces the image of a president whose doughface views were less a matter of hypocrisy than a thorough identification with southern interests. Essays on the secession crisis provide fodder for debate about the strengths and limitations of presidential authority in an existential moment for the young nation.
Although the essays in this collection offer widely differing interpretations of Buchanan's presidency, they all grapple honestly with the complexities of the issues faced by the man who sat in the White House prior to the towering figure of Lincoln, and contribute to a deeper understanding of a turbulent and formative era.
James Cameron (b. 1954) is lauded as one of the most successful and innovative filmmakers of the last thirty years. His films often break records, both in their massive budgets and in their box-office earnings. They include such hits as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Titanic, and Avatar. Part scientist, part dramatist, Cameron combines these two qualities into inventive and captivating films that often push the boundaries of special effects to accommodate his imagination. James Cameron: Interviews chronicles the writer-director's rise through the Hollywood system, highlighted by his "can-do" attitude and his insatiable drive to make the best film possible.
As a young boy growing up in Canada, Cameron imagined himself an astronaut, a deep-sea explorer, a science fiction writer, or a filmmaker. Transplanted to southern California, he would go on to realize many of those boyhood fantasies.
This collection of interviews provides glimpses of the filmmaker as he advances from Roger Corman's underling to "king of the world." The interviews are drawn from a number of sources including TV appearances and conversations on blogs, which have never been published in print. Spanning more than twenty years, this collection constructs a concise and thorough examination of Cameron, a filmmaker who has almost single-handedly ushered Hollywood into the twenty-first century.
The Many Faces of Rebel Iconography
After the death of James Dean in 1955, the figure of the teen rebel permeated the globe, and its presence is still felt in the twenty-first century. Rebel iconography—which does not have to resemble James Dean himself, but merely incorporates his disaffected attitude—has become an advertising mainstay used to sell an array of merchandise and messages. Despite being overused in advertisements, it still has the power to surprise when used by authors and filmmakers in innovative and provocative ways. The rebel figure has mass appeal precisely because of its ambiguities; it can mean anything to anyone. The global appropriation of rebel iconography has invested it with fresh meanings. Author Claudia Springer succeeds here in analyzing both ends of the spectrum—the rebel icon as a tool in upholding capitalism’s cycle of consumption, and as a challenge to that cycle and its accompanying beliefs. In this groundbreaking study of rebel iconography in international popular culture, Springer studies a variety of texts from the United States and abroad that use this imagery in contrasting and thought-provoking ways. Using a cultural studies approach, she analyzes films, fiction, poems, Web sites, and advertisements to determine the extent to which the icon’s adaptations have been effective as a response to the actual social problems affecting contemporary adolescents around the world.
The Selected Poems
James Dickey: The Selected Poems is the first book to collect James Dickey's very best poems. Like many visionary poets of the ecstatic imagination, Dickey experimented in a wide variety of literary styles. This volume brings together the finest work from each of the periods in Dickey's extremely controversial career. For over three decades, until his death in 1997, Dickey was one of the nation's most important poets; these are the poems that brought him a popular readership and critical acclaim.
Loyalty, Politics, and Commerce in Colonial Georgia
But Habersham's story is more than biography. It also provides a window into colonial Georgia and its transformation from a struggling colony on the brink of collapse in the 1740s to a prosperous province in the 1770s, confident enough to defy the Crown. Ranging over such topics as the rise of Methodist missionary fervor, the development of transatlantic trade, the introduction of slavery, and the escalating debate over American independence, Frank Lambert tells how Habersham's success is inextricably tied to Georgia's fortunes and how he played a major role in helping the colony exploit its abundant resources. Habersham's economic development plan provided a blueprint for attracting new settlers, supplying an abundance of cheap labor, and opening new markets.
Habersham's achievements, however, are obscured by his unpopular stance on American independence. While his three sons distinguished themselves as Patriots, Habersham remained loyal to the Crown, though he had opposed Britain's new imperial policies in the 1760's. Nevertheless, it was Habersham's loyal service to colonial Georgia that enabled the colony to separate successfully from the mother country and assume its place in the new republic as a prosperous, vigorous state.
A Design for Mastery
From his birth in 1807 to his death in 1864 as Sherman’s troops marched in triumph toward South Carolina, James Henry Hammond witnessed the rise and fall of the cotton kingdom of the Old South. Planter, politician, and partisan of slavery, Hammond built a career for himself that in its breadth and ambition provides a composite portrait of the civilization in which he flourished. A long-awaited biography, Drew Gilpin Faust’s James Henry Hammond and the Old South reveals the South Carolina planter who was at once characteristic of his age and unique among men of his time. Of humble origins, Hammond set out to conquer his society, to make himself a leader and a spokesman for the Old South. Through marriage he acquired a large plantation and many slaves, and then through shrewd management and progressive farming techniques he soon became one of the wealthiest men in South Carolina. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served as governor of his state. A scandal over his personal life forced him to retreat for many years to his plantation, but eventually he returned to public view, winning a seat in the United States Senate that he resigned when South Carolina seceded from the Union. James Henry Hammond’s ambition was unquenchable. It consumed his life, directed almost his every move, and ultimately, in its titanic calculation and rigidity, destroyed the man confined within it. Like Faulkner’s Thomas Sutpen, Faust suggests, Hammond had a “design,” a compulsion to direct every moment of his life toward self-aggrandizement and legitimation. Hammond envisioned himself as the benevolent, paternal, but absolute master of his family and his slaves. But in reality, neither his family, his slaves, nor even his own behavior was completely under his command. Hammond ardently wished to perfect and preserve the southern way of life. But these goals were also beyond his control. At the time of his death it had become clear to him that his world, the world of the Old South, had ended.
How Merchant Ivory Makes Its Movies
James Ivory in Conversation is an exclusive series of interviews with a director known for the international scope of his filmmaking on several continents. Three-time Academy Award nominee for best director, responsible for such film classics as A Room with a View and The Remains of the Day, Ivory speaks with remarkable candor and wit about his more than forty years as an independent filmmaker. In this deeply engaging book, he comments on the many aspects of his world-traveling career: his growing up in Oregon (he is not an Englishman, as most Europeans and many Americans think), his early involvement with documentary films that first brought attention to him, his discovery of India, his friendships with celebrated figures here and abroad, his skirmishes with the Picasso family and Thomas Jefferson scholars, his usually candid yet at times explosive relations with actors. Supported by seventy illuminating photographs selected by Ivory himself, the book offers a wealth of previously unavailable information about the director's life and the art of making movies.
James Ivory on:
On the Merchant Ivory Jhabvala partnership:
"I've always said that Merchant Ivory is a bit like the U. S. Govenment; I'm the President, Ismail is the Congress, and Ruth is the Supreme Court. Though Ismail and I disagree sometimes, Ruth acts as a referee, or she and I may gang up on him, or vice versa. The main thing is, no one ever truly interferes in the area of work of the other."
On Shooting Mr. and Mrs. Bridge:
"Who told you we had long 18 hour days? We had a regular schedule, not at all rushed, worked regular hours and had regular two-day weekends, during which the crew shopped in the excellent malls of Kansas City, Paul Newman raced cars somewhere, unknown to us and the insurance company, and I lay on a couch reading The Remains of the Day."
On Jessica Tandy as Miss Birdseye in The Bostonians:
"Jessica Tandy was seventy-two or something, and she felt she had to 'play' being an old woman, to 'act' an old woman. Unfortunately, I'couldn't say to her, 'You don't have to 'act' this, just 'be,' that will be sufficient.' You can't tell the former Blanche Du Bois that she's an old woman now."
On Adapting E. M. Forster's novels
"His was a very pleasing voice, and it was easy to follow. Why turn his books into films unless you want to do that? But I suppose my voice was there, too; it was a kind of duet, you could say, and he provided the melody."
"If you see my Indian movies then you get some idea of what it was that attracted me about India and Indians...any explanation would sound lamer than the thing warrants. The mood was so great and overwhelming that any explanation of it would seem physically thin....I put all my feeling about India into several Indian films, and if you know those films and like them, you see from these films what it was that attracted me to India."
On whether he was influenced by Renoir in filming A Room with a View
"I was certainly not influenced by Renoir in that film. But if you put some good looking women in long white dresses in a field dotted with red poppies, andthey're holding parasols, then people will say, ‘Renoir.’"
On the Critics:
"I came to believe that to have a powerful enemy like Pauline Kael only made me stronger. You know, like a kind of voodoo. I wonder if it worked that way in those days for any of her other victims—Woody Allen, for instance, or Stanley Kubrick."
On Andy Warhol as a dinner guest:
"I met him many times over the last twenty years of his life, but I can't say I knew him, which is what most people say, even those who were his intimates. Once he came to dinner with a group of his Factory friends at my apartment. I remember that he or someone else left a dirty plate, with chicken bones and knife and fork, in my bathroom wash basin. It seemed to be a symbolic gesture, to be a matter of style, and not just bad manners."
Salesman for Segregation
James J. Kilpatrick was a nationally known television personality, journalist, and columnist whose conservative voice rang out loudly and widely through the twentieth century. As editor of the ###Richmond News Leader#, writer for the ###National Review#, debater in the "Point Counterpoint" portion of CBS's ###60 Minutes#, and supporter of conservative political candidates like Barry Goldwater, Kilpatrick had many platforms for his race-based brand of southern conservatism. In ###James J. Kilpatrick: Salesman for Segregation#, William Hustwit delivers a comprehensive study of Kilpatrick's importance to the civil rights era and explores how his protracted resistance to both desegregation and egalitarianism culminated in an enduring form of conservatism that revealed a nation's unease with racial change. Relying on archival sources, including Kilpatrick's personal papers, Hustwit provides an invaluable look at what Gunnar Myrdal called the race problem in the "white mind" at the intersection of the postwar conservative and civil rights movements. Growing out of a painful family history and strongly conservative political cultures, Kilpatrick's personal values and self-interested opportunism contributed to America's ongoing struggles with race and reform. William P. Hustwit is visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Mississippi.